Investigations Blog

Getting Started: What’s Critical at the Beginning of the Year? Part 2

We recently asked a group of experienced Investigations teachers the following question: How do you think about creating a math community? What’s critical, particularly at the beginning of the year? In Part 1, we shared their thoughts about setting up the classroom, organizing the math materials, and establishing and maintaining norms. Here, we share their thoughts about Math Workshop and discussions – two structures they cited as critical to a successful and productive math learning...

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Getting Started: What’s Critical at the Beginning of the Year? Part 1

In our summer work with teachers, many of whom are new to Investigations and/or are rethinking the way they teach mathematics, we get lots of questions. Some come up after reading about a structure like Math Workshop, or seeing a list of materials needed for Unit 1. Others arise after “visiting” a classroom – via a Dialogue Box or video of a classroom. For example: How did students learn to discuss math ideas, and listen to each other, like that? Pairs were working independently, all over the...

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Announcing an Online Community!

We are excited to announce the launch of the Investigations Online Community! This community will include a forum for each grade level and one for K-5 topics. Each will be moderated by a member of the Investigations Center for Curriculum and Professional Development. Our vision for this community is that it will connect Investigations users and create a space for teachers, coaches, and administrators to share ideas, pose questions, and discuss issues related to Investigations and to the...

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Counting is More than 1, 2, 3: Engaging Adults in K-2 Mathematics

How do we engage adult learners in the seemingly simple yet complex mathematical ideas of the primary grades?  While teachers can examine the mathematical focus of K-2 tasks, and think about what they might look for as they observe, what questions they might ask to assess understanding, or consider how they might support or extend the targeted math ideas, playing Counters in a Cup or solving a How Many of Each? problem is not exactly an engaging math task for adults. A few weeks ago, I...

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The Power of Discussion Forums for Online Professional Development

My colleague, Arusha Hollister, and I facilitate the Implementing Investigations 3 (II3) online course. Working with Arusha and the many teachers, math coaches, and administrators who have participated in the course has been a truly meaningful learning experience for me—one that has pushed my thinking about how to best support professional development experiences online, particularly through the use of discussion forums. The II3 course discussion forum, which essentially functions as an online...

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What Does It Mean to Go Deeper?

Over the past year I have had a number of opportunities to work with teachers who have been using Investigations for many years but are new to Investigations 3. Keith’s blog about “the size of the chairs” and respecting “the knowledge and experiences brought to the learning situation” struck a chord with me. It doesn’t matter the age of the learners, my beliefs about how people learn best is the same. I am, however, thinking a lot about the best way to facilitate professional development with...

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“The Size of the Chairs”

As hard as it is to believe, it’s already that time of year again—summer is here. Some of you have already finished the school year and are in vacation mode. Others of you, particularly our friends in the Northeast (making up for all those snow days) are likely counting down the final days! Summer provides all types of opportunities—time to decompress, maybe take a vacation near a beach or in the mountains, or spend time with family and friends. It’s also a time for more concentrated...

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When the Math Is What’s Exciting

I’ve been really lucky to spend time in a grade 1 classroom this spring, as they tackle the final number unit of the year. 1U7 is the culmination of students’ work with addition, subtraction, and place value. Building on the work of the earlier number units, it introduces some big, important ideas, many of which are new to the 3rd edition of grade 1. These are first graders who had the 3rd edition in Kindergarten and now have a self-proclaimed lover of math, who is teaching the 3rd edition for...

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“This is Only Getting Better!…And Harder!”

Who knew a deck of +10/-10 cards could be so exciting? A group of 25 first graders, that’s who. As their teacher, Karla, introduced them to Plus or Minus 10, she explained that they would need numeral cards (10-90), cubes (assembled in sticks of ten), and a new deck of cards. When she displayed the +10/-10 cards, the students, many of them on their knees, some literally bouncing up and down and clapping, were clearly excited. Oooo… Whoa… Plus ten… Minus ten. I hear two students exclaim This is...

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The Hard Work of Counting by Groups, Part 2

Last week, I wrote about some first graders’ work on problems about how many fingers were on 4 or 8 hands. This week, I want to share an interaction I had with one child, as the class’s work turned to thinking about groups of 10. Students were working on two types of problems about cubes, organized in towers of 10. ·      Given the number of towers of 10, how many cubes? ·      Given the total number of cubes, how many towers of 10? When I joined Nik, he had already solved problem 1, about a...

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